Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 9AM-5PM M-F

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035

Laura Grape,
Executive Director

Board of Directors and Staff

NVSWCD is governed by a five-member Board of Directors. Three directors are elected in a general election every four years, and two, including a Virginia Cooperative Extension agent serving Fairfax County, are appointed by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.

The NVSWCD Board of Directors meets the fourth Tuesday of every month to discuss district business. The meetings are held in the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax, on the 9th floor. Meetings begin at 9:30 a.m. (unless announced otherwise) and are open to the public. The Executive Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. prior to the Board meeting.

The NVSWCD Board of Director’s Technical Review Committee meets on the third Tuesday of every month, starting at 10:00 a.m. For recent board meeting minutes, please see: NVSWCD Board Meeting Minutes.

Our staff carries out the goals set forth by the Board.


John Peterson

John W. Peterson (Chairman) is an appointed Director and has served on the NVSWCD Board since January 2006. He is the President and CEO of KEMPS Consultants, Inc. with expertise in natural resources public policy, water resources, and erosion and sediment control. Peterson founded Kemps Consultants in 1994 upon retiring, after 40 years of successful federal civil service, from his position as Assistant Chief of USDA’s Soil Conservation Service. Peterson is a former executive director of the National Watershed Coalition. He drafted and lobbied for the successful passage of the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Act of 2000, the first major USDA water resources legislation passed in over 22 years. He serves as the Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts’ Board Representative to the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).  In addition, Peterson is a member and past-president of the International Erosion Control Association and a Soil & Water Conservation Society Fellow. Email John Peterson.

George Lamb

George W. Lamb (Vice Chairman) is an elected Director and has served on the NVSWCD Board since January 2009. Since settling in Fairfax County in 1993, George has been very active in the county's civic and environmental community. He currently serves as an at-large appointee on the Fairfax County Environment Quality Advisory Council (EQAC) and is the lead author on the Interrelationship between Land Use and Transportation chapter of the EQAC annual report. George was a co-founder of the Fairfax League of Conservation Voters, and represented the environmental community on the Tysons Corner Land Use Task Force. He served as the past Chairman of the IT Committee for the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  His full time occupation is working with IT and computer software and he lives in Falls Church with his wife and two daughters. Email George Lamb.

Elaine Tholen

Elaine V. Tholen (Treasurer) was appointed by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board in April 2017 to fulfill the remaining term in an elected Director position.  She is the chair of NVSWCD's Finance Committee and the VASWCD's Education Committee.  She has BS in Science Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught middle school and high school field biology, life sciences, chemistry and physical sciences. For seven years, Elaine worked for Fairfax County Public Schools and developed the FCPS district-wide, preK-12 program (Get2Green) to promote environmental stewardship among students and staff. She formalized regional and national partnerships to provide tools to schools to create student driven environmental action and coordinated efforts across instruction, facilities, food and nutrition, etc. to streamline procedures and support to schools and developed and implemented professional development programs for teachers and administrators. Tholen also holds a MBA from the University of Maryland-College Park. Elaine is an avid alpine hiker, backpacker and mountain biker. Email Elaine Tholen.

Jerry Peters

Gerald (Jerry) O. Peters (Secretary) is an elected Director and has served on the NVSWCD Board since March 2015.  Peters was first appointed by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board in March 2015 to fulfill the remaining term in an elected Director position and then elected in November 2015 for a term that began in January 2016.  Peters has been an Associate Director since 2009 and has represented NVSWCD on the Fairfax County Tree Commission since 2012. Peters is retired after a 30-year long career as an environmental scientist and engineer, including being the first full-time employee of the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory in 1972. His extensive professional background has led, in retirement, to a focus on natural resource stewardship. To support the education of others in Fairfax County, Peters is a Certified Master Naturalist and member of the Basic Training Committee of the Fairfax Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist program. Email Jerry Peters.

Adria Bordas

Adria Bordas (Director-Extension) is an appointed Director and has served in the position reserved for a Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent on the NVSWCD Board since 2002. She is the chair of NVSWCD's Technical Review Committee.  Bordas is the Fairfax County Unit Coordinator and Horticulture Extension Agent. In this capacity, she focuses on several diverse program areas which include pest detection and diagnosis of plant and insect problems, water quality and nutrient management, and invasive pest management. She is an Education Advisor and member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Landscape and Nurserymen's Association and facilitates two Master Gardener Volunteer programs in Fairfax County. Email Adria Bordas.


8 member staff of Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation DistrictDISTRICT STAFF

Laura Grape, Executive Director, is responsible for the overall operational and administration of the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.  In addition, she serves as the agency’s FOIA Officer and administrator for the Potomac Watershed Roundtable.

Kristina Clarin, Urban Conservation Specialist, coordinates the Conservation Assistance Program.

Maria Harwood, Urban Conservation Specialist, advises homeowners on landscape options for resolving drainage and erosion issues and coordinates NVSWCD's annual Seedling Sale.

Ashley Palmer, Conservation Education Specialist, coordinates volunteer and outreach programs including the Sustainable Garden Tour, storm drain marking, volunteer stream monitoring, and watershed model trainings. She is also the point of contact for the Watershed Calendar, Conservation Currents (NVSWCD newsletter), and the website.

Asad Rouhi, Urban Conservation Engineer, reviews site development plans for Fairfax County. He also advises homeowners and developers on land management issues such as erosion and sediment control, stormwater management, drainage problems, stream restoration/stabilization, and soils.

Dan Schwartz, Soil Scientist, is a member of the soil survey update team and provides soil information to the public and agency staff. He also coordinates Envirothon and helps organize county-wide watershed clean-ups in the fall and spring.

Heather Shackley, Office Manager, manages the Conservation District's accounting program and financial records. She responds to and coordinates requests for technical assistance, serves as the point of contact for registrations for Potomac Watershed Roundtable meetings and the Green Breakfast speaker series, and provides administrative support for Board of Directors meetings.  In addition, she serves as the agency's records management officer.

Willie Woode, Senior Conservation/Agricultural Water Quality Specialist, reviews rezonings for Fairfax County and develops conservation plans for suburban horse farm operators. He also provides technical advice to homeowners and consultants on pond management and soils.

Taylor Beach, Environmental Educator, coordinates the Rain Barrel Program for the Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Partnership.


Roger Flint, District Conservationist, administers the NRCS conservation programs that provide financial and conservation planning assistance to agriculture in Fairfax County. He also provides technical expertise on watershed projects including dam rehabilitation and streambank stabilization.

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